Skip to main content

Many car enthusiasts value one sacred factor above all else: horsepower (hp). It is an unspoken challenge and as valued as quarter-mile times or 0 to 60 times. However, you’ll often have to shell out mass quantities of money to get those high-power vehicles. That might not be the case with the 6 of the most powerful cars you can pick up for $30,000 or less. 

  1. Ford Mustang EcoBoost
  2. Dodge Challenger SXT RWD
  3. Chevrolet Camaro 2LT
  4. Subaru WRX
  5. Buick Regal Sportback FWD
  6. Volkswagen Golf GTI

Ford Mustang EcoBoost: 310 horsepower for $28,600

The Ford Mustang EcoBoost makes the most power on the list with a respectable 310. If you’re comparing it to its rivals, it looks even better. The Mustang produces 35 more than the Camaro and seven more than the Challenger for less money. Pair that with turbocharged four-cylinder fuel economy, and you’ve got a solid choice for your money. 

The Ford Mustang EcoBoost is one of cars with the most horsepower under $30,000
A Ford Mustang EcoBoost in UK spec | Adam Gasson, Getty Images

Dodge Challenger SXT: 303 horsepower for $29,680

According to Car and Driver, the Dodge Challenger SXT produces a healthy 303 horsepower from its base 3.6L Pentastar V6. Unfortunately, being near the top of the list doesn’t mean it’s blazingly quick. Instead, the 3,841 lb girth of the vehicle requires much more than 303 horsepower to motivate it to sixty faster than 6.2 seconds.

Chevrolet Camaro 2LT: 275 horsepower for $28,895

The controversially styled late model Camaros don’t disappoint in terms of power or performance. However, you can still pick up a Camaro performer even if you don’t have a budget for a ZL1. According to HotCars, you can snag a Chevrolet Camaro 2LT with 275 horsepower for just $28,895.

The Chevrolet Camaro has lots of power and is one of the cars with the most horsepower for $30,000
A Chevrolet Camaro | Chevrolet

Subaru WRX: 271 horsepower for $28,395

The Subaru WRX is an all-wheel drive (AWD) fun factory bred for rally racing. However, you can drive one on the street just as happily. According to Car and Driver, you can get one with a manual transmission for $28,395. Oh, and did I forget to mention that it’s the quickest car to 60 mph on this list?

Buick Regal Sportback FWD: 250 horsepower for $26,295

What do you mean there’s a Buick on a horsepower shortlist? Just hold on to your horsepower; it deserves its spot. Although its front-wheel drive (FWD), the Buick Regal Sportback FWD makes 250 horsepower for a lot less money than its closest competitor on this list, the Subaru WRX. However, comparing the Buick and the Subaru in anything other than power is just silly. 

Volkswagen Golf GTI: 241 hp for $29,545

For nearly fifty years, the Volkswagen Golf GTI has been a staple in reasonably priced hot hatchback performance. The new Golf GTI doesn’t disappoint, although the prices are reaching points that test the term affordable. You can snag a Volkswagen Golf GTI with 241 horsepower for just $29,545. 

These may be some of the cars with the most power for $30,000, but that doesn’t mean they’re the quickest.

The Ford Mustang EcoBoost makes the most horsepower on this list, and the Subaru is the fastest. According to Car and Driver, vehicles like the Fiat 124, Mazda MX-5, and Mini Cooper S are all right around the six-second 0-60 mph mark. You can have any of those cars for less than $30,000 as well. 

Furthermore, HotCars suggests that even the Honda Civic Hybrid and Toyota GR86 will produce well above 200 horsepower for less than $30,000. If you want to read more about cheap, fast cars, scroll down to the following article!
RELATED: 10 Cars With Over 1,000 HP Ready to Shred Some Tires


Is Nissan Discontinuing the Frontier?